Working with students online can be fun and rewarding, but also poses it's own challenges. Here are some tips on how to set up your virtual classroom to ensure success.
1. Find a quiet and private space.
Make sure you can close the door and that no one will be walking around or asking you where they put their shoes while you are working with students. Students deserve their privacy, and for some online educators HIPAA is an important consideration.
Turn your phone on vibrate and make sure your dogs won't be barking. If the neighbor is mowing their lawn or there is construction going on, close your window. It's important that you don't have background noise to distract your students.
2. Keep your background neutral.
What is behind you? Keep your wall simple and clean, a blank wall is better than busy posters or distracting art work. Having books, your diplomas, or one simple picture will help keep your students focused.
3. Light up your face.
It sounds funny, but lighting can make a huge difference. If you have a window of light behind you, your face will be in the shadow and your students will not be able to see you well. If the light is too far above or below you, you will look like you're telling ghost stories at a campfire. The best lighting is in front of you, bright enough to light up your face evenly.
4. Eye contact.
I know it sounds strange, and most people intuitively look at the videos, but I've worked with teachers who look everywhere except at the computer! Looking at your students or even yourself makes it look like you are looking at them.
5. Have fun!
Enthusiasm goes a long way in making lessons fun and engaging. Enjoy your student and they will enjoy coming to class with you!
Photo by Michael Dam on Unsplash